Psalm 97


Tefillah Tips

Psalm 97 

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In recent times, the world experienced many “natural disasters”. We have witnessed earthquakes and tsunamis as well as hurricanes and cyclones. In our current state of exile, we are unable to explain exactly why they occur and why they took place in the countries they did. However in the times of Moshiach, it will be clear to all when the wicked will be punished and the righteous will praise G-d.

The third Psalm we recite during Kabbalat Shabbat begins, “Hashem Malach Tageyl Haaretz, Yismichu Iyim Rabim – When G-d will rule all of the land will rejoice together, even those that live in more remote places”. The Psalm then explains why – because clouds of darkness will surround evildoers, fire will call forth and lightning will strike and consume all the evil nations of the world. The verse then states, “Higidu Hashomayim Tzidko Verau Kol Ha-amim Kvodo – The heavens will reveal G-d’s righteousness, and all of the nations of the world will recognize G-d’s glory”.  The moment of truth will have arrived.

The Psalmist concludes with the famous verses, “Ohr Zarua Latzaddik uleyishrei Lev Simcha. Simchu Tzaddikim…There is s special light strewn for the righteous and joy for the straight hearted. So rejoice now and give thanks to G-d .”  The Metzudat Dovid explains that the word Zarua is related to the word Zoreya which means planting. This indicates that just as when we plant a seed, we reap a large vegetable many times the seed’s size; so too, the hope, trust and belief we demonstrate towards Hashem throughout the exile will be rewarded exponentially.

The Radak comments on this Psalm that it was written to strengthen the hearts of those that feel beaten by the long exile and combat feelings of hopelessness. Getting caught up in the chores and burdens of life while listening consistently to frightening headlines in the media that depict a world of chaos, terror and unrest can take its toll on anyone. So King David reminds us each week – “Hashem Malach Tageyl Haaretz–there is a just and joyful ending to look forward to”.

Take Home Tip: Although we may sometimes witness the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer, this phenomenon is only temporary in our state of exile. When Moshiach arrives (soon in our day), righteousness will be rewarded and evil will be punished clearly in front of our eyes.


Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, Congregation Sons of Israel, Cherry Hill, New Jersey for Tefillah Tips

Orthodox Union Department of Community Services Frank Buchweitz, National Director Hannah Farkas, Program Manager Adina Tabak, Administrative Assistant

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